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Refugee Law: the International Framework

Kurzdossiers "Paradise Left Behind" – Begleitmaterial zum Film "Es geht um differenzierte Bilder." – Ein Gespräch über Paradise Left Behind Die ägäischen Inseln: von Räumen des Transits zu Räumen der Immobilisierung 'Schengen', 'Dublin' und die Ambivalenzen der EU-Migrationspolitik. Eine kurze Geschichte Paradise Left Behind Migration und Wirtschaft Die wirtschaftlichen Auswirkungen von Zuwanderung Wie sich Migration auf die Herkunftsländer auswirkt Migrantische Ökonomien in Deutschland Fachkräfteengpässe und Arbeitsmigration nach Deutschland Migration und Handwerk – kurze Geschichte einer langen Verbindung Migration und Handwerk: Fachkräftemangel und integratives Potenzial Zugehörigkeit und Zusammenhalt in der Migrationsgesellschaft Was ist Heimat? Warum es so viel leichter ist über Nudelsalat zu reden als über Rassismus Die blinden Flecken antirassistischer Diskurse Was hält eine Gesellschaft zusammen? Was hält eine Gesellschaft zusammen? 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Migrant_innen in der spanischen Landwirtschaft Das Wachstum der Städte durch Migration Migration und Männlichkeit Männlichkeit im Migrationskontext Muslimische Männlichkeit Väterlichkeiten Intersektionale Diskriminierung Sozialisation junger Muslime Migration – Kriminalität – Männlichkeit Migration und Sicherheit Einführung Migration und menschliche Sicherheit Foreign Fighters "Gefährder" Smart Borders Grenzkontrollen: Einblicke in die grenzpolizeiliche Praxis Die Polizei in der Einwanderungsgesellschaft Interview Radikalisierung in der Migrationsgesellschaft Schlepper: Dekonstruktion eines Mythos "Racial Profiling", institutioneller Rassismus und Interventionsmöglichkeiten Migration und Klimawandel Umwelt- und Klimamigration: Begriffe und Definitionen Zur Prognose des Umfangs klimabedingter Migrationen Der Zusammenhang zwischen Klimawandel und Migration Indikator für Verwundbarkeit oder Resilienz? Klimawandel, Migration und Geschlechterverhältnisse Rechtliche Schutzmöglichkeiten für "Klimaflüchtlinge" Interview mit Ulf Neupert Frauen in der Migration Migration qualifizierter Frauen in der EU Selbstorganisation geflüchteter Frauen* "Gastarbeiterinnen" in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Ein Überblick in Zahlen Migration und Geschlechterrollen Frauen auf der Flucht Interview Zahlenwerk: Frauen mit Migrationshintergrund in Deutschland Integrationskurse Geschlechtsbezogene Verfolgung – Rechtlicher Schutz Geflüchtete Frauen in Deutschland Kinder- und Jugendmigration Zahlenwerk Kindertransporte Die "Schwabenkinder" Kinder- und Jugendmigration aus GB Menschenrechte von Kindermigranten Third Culture Kids Kindersoldat_Innen Adoption und Kindermigration Kinderhandel Lebensborn e.V. 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Aussiedler Politische Partizipation von Russlanddeutschen Russlanddeutsches Verbandswesen Religiosität unter Russlanddeutschen Interview mit Peter Dück Russlanddeutsche in Russland Russlanddeutsche transnational Jüdische Kontingentflüchtlinge und Russlanddeutsche Transnationalismus als Beheimatungsstrategie Aushandlungen der Zugehörigkeit russlanddeutscher Jugendlicher Mediennutzung der russischen Diaspora in Deutschland 'Russische' Supermärkte und Restaurants in Deutschland Perspektiven auf die Integration von Geflüchteten in Deutschland Arbeitsmarktperspektiven von Geflüchteten Interview mit Gesa Hune Meinung: Geflüchtete fördern - oder es kann teuer werden Effekte der Fluchtmigration - Interview mit Prof. Dr. Herbert Brücker "Die müssen die Sprache lernen" Fremd- bzw. Zweitspracherwerb von Geflüchteten Die Arbeitsmarktintegration Geflüchteter in der Vergangenheit "Wohnst Du schon – oder wirst Du noch untergebracht?" Inklusion in das Schulsystem Ein Jahr Integrationsgesetz Interview mit Prof. Dr. Julia von Blumenthal Über die Zusammenhänge von Religion und Integration Interview: Digitale Bildungsangebote als Chance für Integration Innerafrikanische Migrationen Konsequenzen der Auslagerung der EU-Grenzen Kindermigration in Burkina Faso Flucht und Vertreibung Migranten als Akteure der Globalisierung Migrations- und Fluchtpfade Marokko Libyen Abschiebungen nach Afrika Leben nach der Abschiebung Flüchtlingslager Begriff und Geschichte des Lagers Orte der dauerhaften Vorläufigkeit: Flüchtlingslager im globalen Süden "Das Leben im Flüchtlingslager wird zur Normalität" Urbanisierungsprozesse Kleine Geschichte der Flüchtlingslager Lager in der Weimarer Republik Schlotwiese Uelzen-Bohldamm Friedland Zirndorf Marienfelde Das Jahr 2016: Ein Rückblick Globale Flüchtlingskrise hält weiter an Diskussion um kriminelle Geflüchtete Europa Literatur Resettlement Was ist Resettlement? Historische Entwicklung Resettlement durch UNHCR Resettlement im Vergleich zu anderen Aufnahmeprogrammen Aufnahme und Integration EU und Resettlement Deutschland Zukunft des Resettlements Literatur Akteure im (inter-)nationalen (Flucht-)Migrationsregime Akteure in Migrationsregimen und das Aushandeln von Migration Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge Die Europäische Grenzschutzagentur Frontex Die Asylagentur der Europäischen Union: neue Agentur, alte Herausforderungen UNHCR UNRWA – das UN-Hilfswerk für Palästina-Flüchtlinge im Nahen Osten Die Internationale Organisation für Migration (IOM) "Migration ist ein globales Thema, auf das es auch globale Antworten geben sollte." Flucht und Asyl: Grundlagen Abschiebung in der Geschichte Deutschlands Wie ist das Asylrecht entstanden? Das Asylverfahren in Deutschland Schutzanspruch im deutschen Asylverfahren? Sichere Herkunftsländer Das Konzept "sichere Herkunftsstaaten" Definition für Duldung und verbundene Rechte Flüchtlingsaufnahme und ihre Folgen Fluchtziel Deutschland Freiwillige Rückkehr Unbegleitete minderjährige Geflüchtete Abschiebung – Ausweisung – Dublin-Überstellung Begriff und Figur des Flüchtlings in historischer Perspektive Zivilgesellschaftliches Engagement Ehrenamtliches Engagement von Geflüchteten Interview mit J. Olaf Kleist Engagement in der Migrationsgesellschaft Politische Proteste von Geflüchteten Proteste gegen Abschiebungen Zivilgesellschaft und Integration Städte der Solidarität – ein Interview Beim Kirchenasyl geht es um den Schutz des Einzelnen. Ein Gespräch. Zivilgesellschaftliche Initiativen für sichere Fluchtwege – ein Überblick Migrantenorganisationen – vielfältige Akteurinnen gesamtgesellschaftlicher Integration (Flucht-)Migration und Gesundheit Medizinische Versorgung Interview David Zimmermann Definition von Migration Gesundheitszustand von Migranten Barrieren/ Prävention Erklärungsmodelle Schlussfolgerungen Literatur Das Jahr 2015: Ein Rückblick Fluchtmigration: Hintergründe Verwaltungs- und Infrastrukturkrise EU: Reaktionen auf die Fluchtzuwanderung Flüchtlingszahlen weltweit Internationale Studierende Einleitung Bildungsmigration Internationale Studierende Internationale Studierende in Deutschland Übergang in den Arbeitsmarkt Literatur Migration und Pflege Einführung Altern in der Migrationsgesellschaft Interview mit Helma Lutz Deutsche Asylpolitik und EU-Flüchtlingsschutz Einleitung Flüchtlingsrecht Asylrecht, Flüchtlingspolitik, humanitäre Zuwanderung Flucht und Asyl als europäisiertes Politikfeld Asyl und Asylpolitik Ausblick Literatur Integration in der postmigrantischen Gesellschaft Einleitung Die postmigrantische Gesellschaft Paradigmenwandel Brauchen wir den Integrationsbegriff noch? Integration als Metanarrativ Notwendigkeit eines neuen Leitbildes Literatur Lifestyle Migration Was ist Lifestyle Migration? Briten in Spanien Einen neuen Lebensstil entdecken Folgen des Residenztourismus Zusammenfassung Literatur Wahlrecht und Partizipation von Migranten Einleitung Politische Rechte und Kommunalwahlrecht Wahlrecht für Drittstaatsangehörige Einbürgerung Aktuelle Entwicklungen Schlussbemerkungen Literatur Frontex und das Grenzregime der EU Einleitung Frontex – Fragen und Antworten Die Entwicklung des europäischen Grenzregimes Externalisierung Technologisierung Grenzwirtschaft/border economies Auf der anderen Seite des Grenzzauns Ist Einwanderung ein Risiko? Literatur Demografischer Wandel und Migration Einleitung Demografischer Übergang Deutschland und Europa Internationale Wanderung Integration und Reproduktionsverhalten Wanderungspolitik Regionale Muster Literatur Glossar English Version: Policy Briefs "Having a nationality is not a given, it is a privilege" Sanctuary and Anti-Sanctuary Immigration Law in the United States Migrant Smugglers Urbanizing Skilled Female Migrants in the EU Self-Organization of Women* Refugees Impact of Migration Revisited Child and Youth Migration Human Rights Protections Migration from the United Kingdom Adoption and Child Migration Third Culture Kids Trafficking in Children Actors in National and International (Flight)Migration Regimes UNHCR UNRWA International Organization for Migration The International Organization for Migration (IOM) German Asylum Policy and EU Refugee Protection Introduction Refugee Law Asylum Law, Refugee Policy, Humanitarian Migration Flight and Asylum Current Developments Current and Future Challenges References Integration in a Post-Migrant Society Introduction Post-Migrant Society Paradigm Shift Do We Still Need the Concept of Integration? Integration as a Metanarrative Need for a New Concept References Lifestyle Migration What Is Lifestyle Migration? British in Spain Realizing a New Style of Life Outcomes of Lifestyle Migration Conclusion References Voting rights and political participation Introduction Political and Municipal Voting Rights Voting Rights for Nationals of Non-EU States Naturalization Recent Developments Conclusions References Frontex and the EU Border Regime Introduction Frontex — Questions and Answers The Development of a European Border Regime Externalization Technologization Border Economies On the Other Side of the Border Fence Is Migration a Risk? References Demographic Change and Migration in Europe Introduction Demographic Transition Germany and Europe International Migration Reproductive Behavior Migration Policy Regional Patterns Glossary Further Reading Global Migration in the Future Introduction Increase of the World Population Growth of Cities Environmental Changes Conclusion: Political Migration References Germans Abroad Introduction Germans Abroad Expatriates in Hong Kong and Thailand Human Security Concerns of German Expatriates Conclusions References Migrant Organizations What Are Migrant Organizations? Number and Structure Their Role in Social Participation Multidimensionality and the Dynamic Character Interaction with their Environments Between the Countries of Origin and Arrival Conclusion References EU Internal Migration EU Internal Migration East-West Migration after the EU Enlargement Ireland United Kingdom Spain Portugal Greece Italy Germany Assessment of Qualifications Acquired Abroad Introduction Evolution of the Accreditation Debate The Importance of Accreditation Basic Principles Thus Far of the Accreditation of Qualifications Acquired Abroad Actors in the Accreditation Practice Reasons for Establishing a New Legal Framework The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act What Is Being Criticized? The Accreditation System in Transition Conclusion References From Home country to Home country? Context Motives Immigration and Integration in Turkey Identification Emigration or Return? References Integration in Figures Approaches Development Six Approaches Conclusion References Climate Change Introduction Estimates Affected areas Environmental migration Conclusion References Dual citizenship Discourse Classic objections Current debate Rule of law Conclusion References Female Labour Migration The labour market Dominant perceptions Skilled female migration Issues Conclusion References How Healthy are Migrants? Definition The Health Status Prevention/Barriers Migration and Health Conclusions References Networks Spain Migrant networks Effects of networks Romanian networks Conclusion References Integration Policy Introduction Demographic situation Economic conditions Labour market The case in Stuttgart Integration measures Evaluation Outlook References Irregular Migration Introduction The phenomenon Political approaches Controlling Sanctions Proposed directive Conclusions References Integration Courses Introduction The Netherlands France Germany United Kingdom Conclusions References Recruitment of Healthcare Professionals Introduction The Situation Health Worker Migration Costs and Benefits Perspectives and Conclusion References Triggering Skilled Migration Introduction Talking about mobility Legal framework Coming to Germany Mobility of scientists Other factors Conclusions References Remittances Introduction The Term Remittance Figures and Trends Effects Conclusion References EU Expansion and Free Movement Introduction Transitional Arrangements Economic Theory The Scale The Results Continued Restrictions Conclusion References The German "Green Card" Introduction Background Green Card regulation Success? Conclusion References Does Germany Need Labour Migration? Introduction Labour shortages Labourmarket Conclusion Labourmigration References Dutch Integration Model The "Dutch model"? The end? Intention and reality A new view Where next? References Impressum

Refugee Law: the International Framework

Jan Schneider Marcus Engler

/ 8 Minuten zu lesen

Worldwide, refugee numbers are on the rise. This trend is reflected in rising numbers of asylum applications in Germany - a development that challenges the national asylum system and corresponding politics. However, the sovereignty of states with regard to asylum policies is limited by international regulations on refugee protection.

November 2014, Heidelberg: Stateless asylum-seeker with a German ID. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

In theory, the migration of international migrants, e.g. labor migrants, is assumed to be based on a voluntary decision, while refugees are forced to leave their place of residence or country of origin due to armed conflicts or persecution. Empirically, these categories of voluntary and involuntary migrants cannot always be clearly distinguished, because the decision to migrate is generally not based on one single reason but on a combination of motives. From the point of view of states, however, it does seem necessary to distinguish between "normal" migrants and people in need of protection. But the international community does not recognize every type of involuntary migration – e.g. that caused by poverty or climate change – as relevant in terms of humanitarian protection. Generally, states have the right to decide who may enter their territory and under what terms. However, the sovereignty of states is limited by international refugee law. This law was developed as a reaction to the experience of the two world wars in the 20th century, which produced millions of international refugees. On 10 December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 14 states that "Everybody has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." The right to seek asylum does not mean, however, that the claimant is automatically granted refugee status. Two years later, on 14 December 1950, the UN General Assembly established the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which was to be responsible for international refugees from then on. According to its mandate, UNHCR is in charge of coordinating international action to protect refugees, ensuring that refugees' human rights are respected and that their right to claim asylum is not violated.

International refugee law, which has been subject to a constant process of development since the Second World War, is essentially based on the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which was signed on 28 July 1951 and entered into force in 1954. Important elements of the Convention are the definition of the term "refugee" and the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits returning a person to a country where (s)he has reason to fear persecution (Geneva Convention, Article 33). In Europe, this right is derived from Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR, in force since 3 September 1953): "No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." According to Article 1a(2) of the Geneva Refugee Convention, the term refugee shall apply to any person who holds "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion." At first, this definition only applied to refugees in Europe and to events before 1 January 1951. The additional Protocol of New York, signed in 1967, removed this temporal and geographical restriction from the Convention, which thereby gained universal validity. To date, 140 states have signed the Convention and the Protocol, including the Federal Republic of Germany and all other EU Member States. To this day, the provisions of the Geneva Refugee Convention continue to have an effect. Refugee law is still based on the obligation of asylum applicants to prove their individual persecution. Over the course of time, however, the interpretation of the Geneva Refugee Convention has undergone changes. Its scope has been enlarged, and now includes persecution by non-state actors and also gender-specific persecution. Alongside these international agreements, there are more and more European legal provisions in the field of asylum policy (see the section on Interner Link: "Refuge and Asylum as a Europeanized Policy Area"). Additionally, many states have their own national regulations and forms of protection: in Germany, for example, Article 16a of the German Constitution (Grundgesetz) guarantees the right to asylum for the victims of political persecution.

Forms of Humanitarian Protection

Asylum Procedure

There are four main forms of humanitarian protection. They are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other. In Germany, the best-known form of humanitarian protection is the asylum procedure. As a territorial principle, it requires, however, that the person in need of protection has left his or her country of origin and has travelled to Germany unassisted, because an asylum application can only be lodged on German territory and not, for example, in the German embassy in the asylum seeker's country of origin. To be able to claim asylum thus generally requires financial resources. Furthermore, the journey to Germany may be a risky matter due to illegal border crossings or the need to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, only a very small share of people in need of protection worldwide actually make it to Germany or other European countries (see info box "People in need of protection - the global dimension"). Most refugees remain in their region of origin, in a neighboring country for instance. Once in Germany, an asylum application can, in principle, be filed at any public authority. It is, however, the regional branch office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees which is officially and formally responsible for handling asylum claims, so other public authorities will pass the application on to the branch office. After the application for asylum has been filed, the Federal Office conducts an individualized procedure to examine whether the applicant has the right to be granted any form of protection: recognition of asylum in accordance with Article 16a of the German Constitution, refugee status in accordance with the Geneva Refugee Convention, subsidiary protection, or a Externer Link: deportation ban. The length of stay permitted, and other legal rights such as family reunification, depend on the form of protection granted. The widest scope of rights applies to persons entitled to asylum or refugee status in accordance with the Geneva Convention. They are granted a three-year residence permit, whereas people granted other forms of humanitarian protection generally receive a residence permit valid for only one year. In the past few years, there has been an alignment of the rights of people granted subsidiary protection. A protection status can be revoked or withdrawn if the causes of flight no longer exist, e.g. if an armed conflict in the refugee's country of origin has ended. Asylum seekers who have not been granted any form of protection are legally obliged to leave Germany. However, in many cases this does not happen, for various reasons: either repatriation is not possible (e.g. because the person in question does not possess valid identity documents), or there are no means of transport, or authorities cannot track the rejected asylum applicant.

Info boxWhat is "subsidiary protection"?

Third-country nationals "may be entitled to subsidiary protection if they cannot be protected either through recognition of refugee status or through the right to asylum. Such individuals are recognized as being entitled to subsidiary protection if they have submitted plausible reasons to presume that they are at risk of serious injury (Article 15 of the EU Qualification Directive Externer Link: 2011/95/EU) in their country of origin.

Serious injury is considered to be:

  • the imposition or enforcement of the death penalty,

  • torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or

  • a substantial concrete danger to the life and limb of a civilian within an international or domestic armed conflict."*

* Externer Link: www.bamf.de/EN/Migration/AsylFluechtlinge/Subsidiaer/subsidiaer.html?nn=1451242

Contingent Refugees

In the event of a major refugee crisis (e.g. former Yugoslavia in the 1990s or Syria since 2011), people in need of protection may also be collectively evacuated from their region of origin or may be individually granted a visa to secure legal entry to Germany. In this case it is usually a fixed number (contingent) of refugees that is admitted. There is no individual assessment of the need for protection, but there are checks as to whether the person in question really belongs to the group of people that is to be granted protection, and whether there are any exclusion criteria such as a person's involvement in war crimes. Protection is granted on a temporary basis only.

Resettlement

A third form of protection is resettlement. In the framework of these programs, particularly vulnerable refugees who have already fled their country of origin and have sought refuge in another country, but can neither permanently settle in that country, nor foreseeable ever return to their country of origin, may be resettled in a third country. Resettlement measures are coordinated by UNHCR. In 2015, only about 127,000 resettlement places were offered worldwide, while 958,000 people needed to be resettled, according to UNHCR. Generally, admission in the framework of resettlement programs is permanent. Both temporary admission programs and resettlement offer the advantage of safe entry into the host country. They also provide a chance of protection for vulnerable groups of refugees who do not possess the necessary financial resources to travel to a European country on their own in order to claim asylum there. Furthermore, these programs provide relief to the main refugee hosting countries in particular conflict regions, which do not have the capacity to adequately cope with large refugee flows.

Regional Programs of Protection

A fourth form of protection is protection programs financed by Western industrial states in the immediate vicinity of the centers of conflict, that is, in the neighboring states where most refugees seek protection. Accommodation close to the refugees' country of origin has the advantage that it is less costly, and therefore support can be offered to a larger number of refugees. Additionally, people who have fled their countries of origin can return there faster when the conflict that caused their flight has ended.

Refugees referred to as “internally displaced persons” have to be distinguished from international refugees. They have not fled their country of origin, but have been forced to leave their place of residence and seek refuge in another part of the country. The degree of protection that the international community can offer them – e.g. food and medical supplies – depends on the security situation in the particular country. In practice, the forms of protection outlined above may address refugees from the same country of origin. The case of Syrian refugees is a good example: Of a population of about 21 million before the outbreak of the war in early 2011, about half had fled their place of residence or even the country by the end of May 2015. About 7.6 million were internally displaced, and four million had sought refuge in neighboring countries. Only a little over 250,000 Syrians had filed an application for asylum in the EU, most of them in Germany and Sweden. Another 50,000 were granted protection through (temporary or permanent) humanitarian admission programs.

This text is part of the policy brief Interner Link: German Asylum Policy and EU Refugee Protection: The Prospects of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).

Fussnoten

Fußnoten

  1. Kluth (2014), pp. 2-3.

  2. Hatton (2012).

  3. This list makes no claim to be exhaustive. In addition, there are other forms of humanitarian protection, e.g. deportation bans for people being forced to leave the country.

  4. For an overview of different forms of protection and the rights they imply, see Parusel (2010).

  5. In accordance with German law, appeals have to be processed at the latest three years after the decision on granting asylum has been made at final instance (Article 73 Paragraph 2a of the Asylum Procedure Act/AsylverfG).

  6. UNHCR (2014d), p. 9.

  7. Own calculation based on Eurostat data; www.resettlement.eu/news/crisis-syria (accessed: 2 February 2015).

Lizenz

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Dr. Jan Schneider heads the research unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration, and is a Research Fellow of the Hamburgisches WeltWirtschaftsInstitut (Hamburg Institute of International Economics, HWWI).
Email: E-Mail Link: jan.schneider@info-migration.de

Marcus Engler is a social scientist and senior researcher at the research unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration. His research focuses on refuge and asylum issues. He is a long-standing member of the editorial staff of the newsletter "Migration und Bevölkerung." Email: E-Mail Link: engler@network-migration.org